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Top lawmaker demands answers in Epstein's death

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 13, 2019 - Duration: 01:59s

Top lawmaker demands answers in Epstein's death

A top U.S. lawmaker joined the chorus of officials demanding answers from the Bureau of Prisons over the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein while in federal custody.

Jonah Green has more.

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Top lawmaker demands answers in Epstein's death

Lawmakers are demanding to know how Jeffrey Epstein could have taken his own life while in federal custody.

The apparent suicide of the money manager who was being held without bail on federal sex trafficking charges, has provoked widespread outrage - and now, investigations.

House Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler sent a scathing letter on Monday to the acting director of federal prisons looking for answers ranging from the suicide-prevention policies at the Manhattan prison where Epstein was housed, to information on the guards on duty and whether video cameras were in use.

This echoes concerns voiced by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who said the FBI and DOJ would investigate.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR, SAYING: "I was appalled - and indeed the whole department was - and frankly angry to learn of the MCC's failure to adequately secure this prisoner...We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation." Epstein was arrested on July 6, had pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking involving underage girls as young as 14.

The 66-year-old financier had been on suicide watch, but apparently the watch was lifted.

According to the New York Times, several high-ranking prison officials, including the prison's chief psychologist, would have had to approve that action.

It was not clear why he was taken off the suicide watch, or why he was in a cell by himself when his body was found.

The Times also reported that one of the two people guarding Epstein was not a full-fledged corrections officer and neither guard had checked on him for several hours before he was discovered.

The New York City medical examiner said that an autopsy had been completed on Epstein Sunday but that a determination on the cause of death was still pending.

Nadler demanded the prisons bureau respond to the Judiciary committee by Aug.

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